This week, we call on an Americana pioneer and a beloved fixture of the Nashville roots-country scene, the always affable Grammy-winner Jim Lauderdale. This year he celebrated the release of his thirty-fifth record, Game Changer.
Growing up in both North and South Carolina, as a young man Lauderdale fell in love with country music but took an unconventional path to becoming a sought-after songwriter, harmonist and writer in Music City. He toured in New York theatre productions when he was starting out, and ended up in LA. Even today you can hear the drama in his aching harmony-soaked songs like “Lightning Love” off Game Changer.
While sales and national recognition haven’t always aligned, the “stylistically restless” Lauderdale has played the Opry over 200 times, collaborated on albums with his heroes like the late bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, written tracks for artists as diverse as George Strait and Elvis Costello, and has accidentally become one of the leading elder-statesman of the Americana movement.
What is Americana exactly? Even Jim impishly won’t say. But it’s that earthy genre-bending sound that has kept his longtime fans coming back for more nearly four decades into his storied run.
Photo Credit: Scott Simontacchi